Printer Friendly

Safe staffing for school nurses--ANA's adopts position statement.

Safe staffing is a priority issue for nurses in all practice settings--and for one vital reason: to ensure the delivery of safe, high quality health care. The nation's public schools represent one such setting that faces serious compromises to student safety and wellbeing due to a shortage of school nurses. The important role of professional school nurses cannot be overstated, given the prevalence of chronic health conditions and other health-related needs among today's student population. The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) defines school nursing as "a multifaceted area of practice that promotes student health and safety as well as academic achievement." In addition to monitoring and treating a variety of health conditions, school nurses typically provide health education, first aid and emergency services, medication administration, immunization tracking, state-mandated health screenings, and many other services.

A growing body of evidence supports positive links between school nurse availability and improved health, school attendance and performance among students. Unfortunately, there are not nearly enough school nurses to care for the growing numbers of children with serious health problems. The current shortage of school nurses is due in large part to the lack of federal legislation mandating safe staffing plans and entry level requirements for school nurses. Although federal laws require that school districts provide services to students with special needs, they do not require that such services be provided by school nurses. Consequently, states show wide variations in school nurse-student ratios and many states resort to the use of unlicensed personnel (e.g., school secretaries, attendants, assistants) to provide health care services.

The American Nurses Association (ANA), along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the NASN and several state organizations, recommends a minimum school nurse: student ratio of 1:750 for general school populations. Many states stipulate more stringent ratios for students with complex health care needs requiring frequent interventions. The central premise for recommending these ratios is that students have a right to safe, high quality health care while in the school setting. The registered school nurse is the health care professional best suited to providing and coordinating the full range of health care services for student populations.

For those who either function in this role or who have children in K-12 educational programs, you may want to view ANA's recently adopted position statement on School nursing for children in these educational settings. See our position statement on the web site:
COPYRIGHT 2008 Nevada Nurses Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:ANA News; American Nurses Association
Publication:Nevada RNformation
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2008
Previous Article:Nurses' voices need to be heard! Take action today!
Next Article:Nursing needs you to show your political muscle!!!

Related Articles
Making ethical decisions during disasters: it is essential nurses prepare for a possible disaster and are aware of the ethical dilemmas they may face...
Affirmation of the practice of professional nursing.
Staff nurses facing reassignment-are you competent?
Assuring patient safety: registered nurses' responsibility in all roles and settings to guard against working when fatigued.
Practice resource network.
Medication errors and syringe safety are top concerns for nurses according to new national study.
Nurse staffing impacts quality of patient care: ANA poll reveals serious concerns about quality of care.
Nurses need to decide what is best for their patients.
Georgia Nurses Association delegation chair overall outcome report.
Medication errors and syringe safety are top concerns for nurses.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters